In a trade that left many Astros fans scratching their heads, GM Jeff Luhnow sent Astros closer, Brett Myers, to the Chicago White Sox for RHP Matthew Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters and a player to be named later, who was later announced to be RHP Chris Devenski. The fact that fans were scratching their heads wasn’t because Myers was traded, but because it was to the White Sox who have arguably the worst farm system in baseball. We’ll take a look at how each player involved in the trade did after the jump.
Brett Myers made the transition from starter to closer during the offseason. He originally had a clause in his contract that had he pitched 200 innings, his $15 mil option for 2013 would automatically vest. Since he was becoming a reliever, he would have no chance at 200 innings, so he and the Astros changed it. If he finished 45 games in 2012, his option would vest. He ended up finishing a total of 41 games combined with Houston and Chicago, falling just short of the 45 game mark. His option will be declined, however, the Astros sent money over in this trade toward that. Myers finished the season with a 3.39 ERA and 19 saves. He did not record a save with the White Sox as he was used primarily as a setup man.
As for the prospects received by Houston, let’s take a look at the player to be named later first, Chris Devenski. There were whispers that the Astros brass though of Devenski as a Shawn Marcum clone and insisted on his inclusion in the deal. I have no idea if that’s true but Devenski turned in one hell of a performance back on September 1 when he threw a no hitter for Class Low A Lexington. He finished this season with a combined record of 8-7 and a 3.86 ERA between Houston and Chicago’s organizations. Since he was in Low A, normally, I’d say he would begin next season at High A but he could skip that level all together and head to AA with Lexington teammates Delino DeShields Jr. and Michael Foltynewicz.
Matthew Heidenreich was also included in the deal. Heidenreich was a 4th round pick of the White Sox in the 2009 MLB Draft. Drafted straight out of high school, the 21 year old righty has slowly risen through the minors for Chicago. Having started this season with Chicago’s High A affiliate before being promoted to their AA affiliate and eventually traded to the Astros and being assigned to the AA Corpus Christi Hooks. He finished the 2012 season with a record of 12-5 and an ERA of 3.95, which includes going 3-1 with a 3.93 ERA for the Hooks. I think he will start the season back at AA, but he is another one who I could also see getting the promotion to AAA Oklahoma City to start the season.
Lastly, we have the southpaw, Blair Walters. Walters was an 11th round pick of the White Sox in the 2011 MLB Draft out of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Like Heidenreich, he also was promoted once by the White Sox as he began the year with Low A and was promoted to High A before ultimately being traded to the Astros organization and assigned to Class High A Lancaster, where he struggled mightily. As a member of the Lancaster JetHawks, Walters went 3-3 with a 7.62 ERA. He also struggled at High A for Chicago this year as he went 1-3 with a 7.01 ERA. He will most definitely begin the 2013 season back at Lancaster and will hopefully pitch like he did at Low A this season.
This is a tough trade to evaluate. At first glance, the Astros didn’t get a lot in return for Myers, even though in the month before the trade, Myers was pitching very poorly, which didn’t help his trade value. Heidenreich and Devenski played well for their teams in the Astros organization and could see promotions to begin next season.
Something tells me that the Astros believed if Myers finished the year in Houston, he would definitely reach the 45 games finished, thus ensuring his $15 mil salary for the 2013 campaign. This could have been a straight cost cutting move, hoping to send him to a team where he wouldn’t have as much of a chance of finishing 45 games, or at least a lesser chance than he would have here in Houston. Myers pitched well for the White Sox and was part of a bullpen that kept Chicago in the race until the last week of the season before being eliminated from playoff contention. Still, his trade will likely be a rental as his option for next year will be declined thus making him a free agent. I’m going to give the slight edge to Chicago on this one due to the fact that they were in playoff contention until the final week of the season, but that could all change if the pitchers received by Houston continue their growth and development.